Henry Huggins is friends with Beezus Quimby -- even though she's a girl and has a pesky little sister. Her name is Ramona, and she's got a way of causing trouble!
When Henry finds a bonanza of gum balls, Beezus helps him take them to school to sell. She knows he's trying to earn money for a bike. Henry's best chance to get one comes when there's an auction for lost bikes at the police station. He sets off to buy a red one, but Beezus and Ramona tag along -- and Ramona brings a fat slimy garden slug . . . .
In her first book, Henry Huggins, Beverly Cleary created funny, endearing characters and situations that left readers asking for more. In this second adventure, Henry tries to get the bike he longs for, and readers laugh while hoping that Henry's dreams come true.
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February 28, 1990
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Excerpt from Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
Ribsy and the Roast
Henry Huggins stood by the front window of his square white house on Klickitat Street and wondered why Sunday afternoon seemed so much longer than any other part of the week. Mrs. Huggins was reading a magazine, and Mr. Huggins, puffing on his pipe, was reading the funnies in the Sunday Journal.
Henry's dog, Ribsy, was asleep in the middle of the living-room rug. As Henry looked at him, he suddenly sat up, scratched hard behind his left ear with his left hind foot, and flopped down again without even bothering to open his eyes.
Henry pressed his nose against the windowpane and looked out at Klickitat Street. The only person he saw was Scooter McCarthy, who was riding up and down the sidewalk on his bicycle.
I sure wish I had a bike," remarked Henry to his mother and father, as he watched Scooter.
I wish you did, too," agreed his mother, "but with prices and taxes going up all the time, I'm afraid we can't get you one this year."
"Maybe things will be better next year, said Mr. Huggins, dropping the funnies and picking up the sport section.
Henry sighed. He wanted a bicycle now. He could see himself riding up and down Klickitat Street on a shiny red bike. He would wear his genuine Daniel Boone coonskin cap with the snap-on tail, only he wouldn't wear the tail fastened to the hat. He would tie it to the handle bars so that it would wave in the breeze as he whizzed along.
"Henry," said Mrs. Huggins, interrupting his thoughts, "Please don't rub your nose against my clean window."
"All right, Mom, said Henry. I sure wish something would happen around here sometime."
"Why don't you go over to Robert's house? Maybe he can think of something to do," suggested Mrs. Huggins, as she turned a page of her magazine.
"O.K.," agreed Henry. Robert's mother said they couldn't give the white mice rides on Robert's electric train any more, but maybe they could think of something else. "Come on, Ribsy," said Henry.
Ribsy stood up and shook himself, scattering hair over the rug.
"That dog," sighed Mrs. Huggins.
Henry thought he had better leave quickly. As he and Ribsy started down the front steps, Robert came around the corner.
"What's up, Doc?" said Robert.
"Hi," responded Henry.
"My dad said maybe if I came over to your house, you could think of something to do," said Robert.
The boys sat down on the front steps. "Here comes old Scooter," observed Robert. The two boys watched the older boy pumping down the street on his bicycle. He was whistling, and not only was he riding without touching the handle bars, he even had his hands in his pockets.
" Hi," said Scooter casually, without stopping.
"Big show-off," muttered Robert. I bet be takes that bike to bed with him."
"He sure thinks he's smart, " agreed Henry. "He's been riding up and down all afternoon. Come on, let's go around in the back yard, where we won't have to watch old Scooter show off all day. Maybe we can find something to do back there."
Ribsy followed at the boys' heels. Unfortunately, the back yard was no more interesting than the front. The only sign of life was next door. A large yellow cat was dozing on the Grumbies' back steps, and there was smoke coming from the barbecue pit.
Robert looked thoughtful. "Does Ribsy ever chase cats?"
"Not that old Fluffy." Henry, understanding what was on Robert's mind, explained that Mrs. Grumbie sprinkled something called Doggie-B-Gone on her side of the rosebushes. Ribsy disliked the smell of it and was careful to stay on his side of the bushes.
Robert was disappointed. I thought Ribsy might ..."
"No such luck," interrupted Henry, looking at his dog, who had settled himself by the back steps to continue his nap. Henry picked a blade of grass and started to blow through it when the squeak-slam of the Grumbies' screen door made him look up. "Jeepers!" be whispered.
Stepping carefully over Fluffy, Mr. Hector Grumbie walked down the back steps. He was wearing a chef's tall white hat and an immense white apron. What's cooking? was written across the hat, and on the apron was printed a recipe for Bar X Ranch Bar-B-Q Sauce. Mr. Grumbie carried a tray full of bowls, jars, bottles, and what appeared to be bunches of dried weeds.
"Is he really going to cook?" whispered Robert.
"Search me," answered Henry. The two boys edged closer to the rosebushes that divided the two yards.
"Hello, Mr. Grumbie," said Henry.
"'Hello there, Henry." Mr. Grumbie crossed the lawn and set the tray on the edge of the barbecue pit in the comer of his yard. He peeled a small object which he put into a bowl, sprinkled with salt, and mashed with a little wooden stick. Then he broke off pieces of the dried weeds and mashed them, too.
Henry and Robert exchanged puzzled looks.
"Need any help, Mr. Grumbie?" asked Henry.